Disy leader Averof Neophytou said on Wednesday that he would seek his party’s nomination for the presidential elections of February 2023.

His written announcement and video followed a party decision to set in motion procedures for the selection of the party’s candidate on March 12.

“I would like today to inform you of my intention to be a candidate for the presidency of the Republic. That is why I am submitting this proposal to the competent party organs,” Neophytou said.

Under the procedures agreed by Disy, party members interested in running for the top office in the land must submit their candidacy by January 10. That will kick off the primaries inside the party, culminating in an electoral congress on March 12 when approximately 1,800 delegates will select (by secret ballot) their party’s presidential nominee for 2023.

In his announcement, Neophytou said he will strive for a “green and just growth”, digital transition, and the state’s technological transformation to better serve people.

He also referred to the need for a modern local government, a faster justice system, transparency, improvements in education, and the obligation to continue to fight for the liberation and reunification of the country.

Neophytou said that he had been front and centre in the political scene for 30 years, and has, “with patience and modesty” achieved results with positive outcome in the country.

This is the first expression of interest in the party’s presidential candidacy with speculations about what Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides, who is also expected to run, will do. The minister continues to be evasive about his intentions, with Disy explicitly stating that it will not tolerate any of its members going about this outside party procedures.

Reports said President Nicos Anastasiades has asked former Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasouldies if he wouldn’t mind replacing Christodoulides in case the incumbent vacates the post.

On the independents front, two people have so far announced they will be running for president: former Diko vice president Giorgos Kolokasides, and lawyer Marios Eliades.

Another lawyer, Achilleas Demetriades, announced in September he would launch consultations with political parties and civil society groups to assess their views on the problems facing the country before he decides whether to run for president.